Has Anyone...

Lounge By jonahsmom Updated 21 Jun 2009 , 7:37pm by jonahsmom

jonahsmom Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 5:53pm
post #1 of 6

ever used a deep freezer set on warmest setting as a refrigerator?

I have to make a pasta salad for 200 peeps for my grandpa's funeral and I don't know where I'll keep it all once it's cooked and mixed together. I know it will taste best if it sits over night so the flavors can meld together, but our fridge will NOT hold it all. We have two deep freezers and can put everything in one (stacked to the hilt!) in order to have room for the pasta salad.

Any ideas? My dad said it wouldn't work, but even though he is super smart icon_smile.gif I thought I'd ask you guys....especially since I know some of you cater and might have an idea.

TIA.

5 replies
Mensch Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 6:01pm
post #2 of 6

Can you maybe ask a neighbor if they have room?

indydebi Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 6:05pm
post #3 of 6

How much did you make? Do you have it in bowls or in ziplok bags? Do you have a big cooler?

I make pasta salad frequently for wedding caterings and I'll bet you made WAY more than you need. I always do. I make food based on average serving size and when pasta salad is served with other foods, people just don't pile it on. I've gotten to the point that for a wedding of 100, I'll make 50-60 servings, based on the serving chart and I STILL have some left over.

Store in gallon size ziplok bags. These can be laid flat and take up less room than big bulky bowls or lidded containers.

Or get out that big cooler you use for picnics. Lay the ziplok bags of pasta salad in the bottom and them fill about 3 gallon size ziploks with ice (can you tell that ziploks are my best friends?); lay the bags of ice on top of the bags of pasta. Trust me, the ice will hold up overnight and the salad will be fine. If you have some discomfort about it, put a couple ziploks of ice on the bottom of the cooler, stack pasta, then more bags of ice.

I used this method to transport 80 lbs of raw chicken to my nephews wedding that was a 4 hour drive away. I had so many bags of ice that the chicken was partially frozen the next day when I went to cook it! And I just shoved the coolers in their garage for the night! (wedding was at mom's house ... outdoor wedding/reception).

jonahsmom Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 7:07pm
post #4 of 6

Oh, indydebi....I was hoping you would reply!!! After I posted I thought about pm'ing you, but then decided that I would see if you saw first.

I actually haven't made it yet. It sounds like I should make about half as many servings....right? I have all the pasta and everything bought and in the cupboard, so I can still take half of it back because it's completely unopened. Don't want to spend more money for such an unhappy occasion than we need to!!!!

We do have a couple of coolers here at home and we have a big one at work, so I'll see if I can borrow it, too.

So, the funeral is going to be Wednesday most likely. If I mix it up Tuesday night at the center and keep it in iced coolers it should be just fine until after the service....that is AWESOME!!!! I'm pretty sure the ladies are going to be serving the food because I can't miss the funeral (I'm singing too!) and wouldn't want to miss it anyway. It's possible that there will be refrigerator room at the center, too. I'm thinking they have two fridges, but I was concerned with all the sandwiches that there wouldn't be enough room for everything.

My husband is planning on boiling all the noodles for me tomorrow. Do you think that will be too early? Or should I just wait until I'm ready to mix it all together?

Thanks again!!!!!

indydebi Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 7:18pm
post #5 of 6

Oh heck yeah you can cook the noodles way in advance! Just be sure to blanch them in cold water as soon as you drain them to stop the cooking process. Store them in ziplok bags in the refrigerator (got that tip from the pasta cook at a GFS food show). Then you can mix it up whenever you feel like it.

When I have a catering with pasta, I cook and transport it this way. At the venue, I bring water to a boil and just put the pasta in the boiling water long enough to heat it up and break it up. Then onto the hot buffet it goes alongside the marinara sauce and meatballs!

Bear in mind, if you pre-cook the pasta and store it in ziploks, the starch will cause it to turn into a ziplok shaped block of pasta, but if you just swoosh it around in some cold water to break it up, it will be be fine. Just be sure to drain well. (I have 2 BIG industrial size pasta cooking pans (has the insert pan which is just a big colander) and it makes the job really easy for me.)

If you dont' have a big colander to drain the cold water, take a big cooling rack and hold it over the pan (hold it really tight) and flip it (just like flipping a cake out of a cake pan! thumbs_up.gif )

Sounds like it will work out fine with the center's kitchen and all. thumbs_up.gif

jonahsmom Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 7:37pm
post #6 of 6

You are awesome.....thank you sooooooo much!!!

My hubby always rinses pasta with cold, cold water when he drains it anyway because he wants to make sure it's rinsed really well, so we totally have that covered.

I appreciate your help!

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